With the year coming to a close, we thought it might a good time to look into the hottest cars of the year for consumers on CarGurus. So we dug into our data mines to determine exactly which vehicles were generating the most interest among our users this last year. These are not necessarily the most purchased vehicles, but rather the vehicles most inquired about by CarGurus users.
Some of these cars may surprise you (we certainly didn’t expect a few of them), but we suspect some of these vehicles require a bit of research and shopping around before a buyer will commit to a purchase. It doesn’t surprise us to see that some of the less-often-purchased vehicles, like sporty performance cars, are the among the ones most researched. Someone who is serious about buying will probably do all he or she can to weigh the available options against one another before committing to such a big purchase, and we certainly encourage anyone buying a car to do this research. We like these cars a lot and completely understand why our users do, too. After all, some of these vehicles have been featured on other CarGurus lists.
10. The Nissan Altima has become an industry stalwart since its debut for the 1993 model year. Over that time, the Altima has gained a reputation for being reliable, practical and relatively fun to drive. When we tested the 2015 version earlier this year, we were impressed with the car’s 182-hp engine, which gave us plenty of power throughout the rev range. While the car performs well, what really makes it a pleasure to drive is the interior. Thanks to the Altima’s NissanConnect system and Zero Gravity seats, it’s easy to get where you want to go in the Altima, and you will get there in exceeding comfort. Add to that an overall 5-star crash-test rating, and it’s easy to see why so many CarGurus shoppers are eager to find an Altima.
9. The BMW 3 Series is a special breed. Never has there been a car with as big a target on its back as the 3 Series. Every year competing automakers set the 3 Series in their sights, and every year the 3 Series stares right back, cool, calm and collected. While other makers benchmark their cars against the 3 Series, BMW simply improves the formula that makes the 3 Series so great. So what is that formula? Simple: BMW builds a practical family car that handles like an absolute champ, looks great, accelerates quickly, offers more tech than many could want and doesn’t (massively) overcharge for it. The result? Lots and lots of people want the 3 Series, and even if they don’t necessarily end up buying one, they’ll use it as a benchmark in their car-buying experience, comparing everything else they shop for to the Bavarian king.
8. The Honda Accord has built a reputation as being one of the top cars as far as quality, affordability and accessibility go. There’s no doubt that’s why our shoppers have such a high interest in the sedan. It has dominated the last decade as the affordable family car, and it continues to do what it does best year after year. We loved the Accord in our test drive, as the car impressed in terms of aesthetics, performance, tech and, most notably, cost-effectiveness. With 2015 models starting under $23,000, it’s hard not to be intrigued.
7. The Ford Mustang is both an American icon and extremely popular car among enthusiasts, so it’s not surprising to see that it has generated a lot of interest among our users. The Mustang is most certainly the first car you think of when you think of performance-driven sports cars, and with some prices below $20,000, it becomes hard to resist the urge. Although throughout the last decade the V6 trims have produced around “only” 200 to 300 horsepower, the GT trims have been known to pile on an additional 100+ hp. The Mustang lineup also includes some absolutely legendary powerhouses, including the Mustang SVT Cobra and Shelby GT500 that generate more interest in the Mustang name. The car isn’t all power, though, as Ford has continued to include all its top-of-the-line tech and safety features in each Mustang iteration to make driving this American icon as safe as possible.
6. There’s a reason the Toyota Camry is one of America’s top-selling cars and one of the hottest cars on CarGurus. Actually, that’s a lie, there are tons of reasons. While it may not be a favorite among enthusiasts, the Camry is unbeatable in many of the categories average car buyers care about—things like reliability, safety and value. The Camry offers a roomy cabin with seating for 5 and lots of cargo space. Step up to one of the V6 models and you’ll even get pretty peppy acceleration, something that will certainly make your evening commute a bit more fun. If you’re looking for a comfy commuter car that will never let you down and has a little bit of a sinister side, the Camry could be just the ticket—plenty already think it is.
5. The Dodge Charger is, frankly, one of the more surprising additions to the list at first glance, especially with it beating out the likes of the Accord, the Camry and even the Mustang in user interest. And though Dodge resurrected the long-gone Charger in 2006, the performance beast has since built itself into a favorite in the auto industry. Dodge has certainly done a terrific job marketing the Charger. With high-profile additions to the lineup like the SRT Hellcat, Super Bee and Daytona attracting a whole lot of press, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that this muscle car has captured the attention of consumers. With advertisements for the Hellcat trumpeting its 707 hp, it’s hard not to research what it would take to buy one.
4. The Chevrolet Camaro has one of the best dollar-per-horesepower ratios around. That fact alone should give you a hint as to why it’s one of the hottest cars on CarGurus. After being discontinued in 2002, the Camaro came roaring back in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. Thanks in large part to the base model’s powerful 6-cylinder engine, quick acceleration and dashing good looks, the Camaro has commanded showroom floors since its rebirth. For those who want a little more oomph, 8-cylinder versions can also be had, for a price. It may not be the most practical car out there, but it is an icon. More important, it’s an affordable icon (used Camaros are easy to find, and new ones start at $23,705). $23,705 for a great-looking, fun-to-drive, brand-new muscle car? Where do we sign?
3. It’s not too surprising to see one of the most capable, comfortable and accessible pickups on this list in the form of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. There has always been a large market for work trucks, and as these trucks become more and more consumer-friendly and family-oriented, it becomes easy to see that trend continuing. The Silverado has continued to expand the pickup market beyond consumers who need to haul and tow—pickups are becoming practical and comfortable for anyone to own. The newest addition to the lineup includes a direct-injected EcoTec3 6.2-liter V8 engine which gives you an amazing torque-to-mpg ratio. And with over 50 trim possibilities, it’s easy to find a Silverado that suits your needs.
2. The Ford F-Series has long been America’s best-selling vehicle, and as such it’s no surprise the Ford F-150 claimed a spot as one of the hottest vehicles on America’s hottest car-shopping website. Redesigned for 2015, Ford hopes the F-150’s new aluminum construction will win over even more buyers and give it an even greater share of the American pickup-truck market. In redesigning the F-150, Ford focused on shedding weight, using high-grade aluminum in body construction to make the truck lighter, tougher and more fuel-efficient. The result is a truck capable of getting up to 26 mpg on the highway while also being able to take on all of the tasks a truck should (things like hauling and towing). The new truck is just hitting dealer lots now, but we can’t wait to see how shoppers will react to the newest version of the truck they’ve loved since the first F-Series rolled off the line in 1948. If the past is any indication, they’re going to love it.
1. The Jeep Wrangler is a definitive favorite among our users, and this year’s stats support that. The iconic SUV has generated the most consumer interest from our users over the last year. It’s a vehicle that encapsulates everything a consumer might want: It’s affordable, accessible and aesthetically unique, but it also carries a novelty factor that generates a lot of the enthusiast interest. For the few of you who don’t know much about the Wrangler, its origins go back to the WWII-era Willys MB, and in the years since it has cemented itself into America’s automotive identity. The 2015 Wrangler lineup includes the Willys Wheeler Special Edition trim as a salute to the original CJ-2 civilian-market Jeep. Of course, the 2015 is just as fun and popular as the first Jeeps introduced in the late ’40s.
What cars did you shop for in 2014?
-jharrington and zwaller
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